When ready, the player can tap the touch screen, starting the game. Once started, the screen will have a certain number of Kirbys with other objects such as Rockys, Beanbons, Mosomosos, or peaches that may cover a Kirby or may be mistaken for one. A strategy to play the game is to tap on a Kirby, causing him to flash. After 3 seconds, the curtain will close, and the player will need to put in onscreen the amount of Kirbys. If the player puts in the correct number, the game will progress to the next stage. However, if the wrong number is put in, the game will end. If the player does exceptionally well, at stages 21 until 40 there will be less time to count the Kirbys. The time to count is always one second at stages 41+. The game goes on infinitely if the player never loses, but Stage 99 is the highest round.
Kirby Curtain Call is similar in nature to Tamasan's counting sub-game from Kirby's Dream Land 3, except Kirbys are counted instead of Gordos. Also, while Tamasan tells the player to recall the number of Gordos that take a certain (random) color, Kirby Curtain Call consistently challenges the player to remember the number of Kirbys.